28 August 2008

Equals Zero?

The New York Times has an article online today that insenuates that Barack Obama is similar to Martin Luther King Jr.
Witnesses to Dream Speech See A New Hope
I think it's important to remember that King was not a politician or a lawyer but a student of Sociology and Philosophy who believed in doing what was right.
Obama has promise yes, but he is a lawyer and a politician, his civil rights career while nothing to scoff at, was brief, and was generally focused on economics and the law.
There is a fundamental difference in doing what is right, and doing what is legal.
King was uncompromising in his overall goals and never afraid to step in and make things happen with personal action and conviction regardless of personal dnager or legality.
The nature of the Western representative legal system is such that compromise is required for progress. So, up to this point Obama may have talked a good game, but has chosen a field which gives us little oportunity to see him in action.
I share the hope of those participants in the March on Washington that someone who is a member of the African American community can in a position of great power make a difference in our social cant. But Obama is no King.
Political Positions of Barack Obama

27 August 2008

Choke Points

One cannot always judge the progress of the day by its opening moves.
One of the first things I did today was to put on a fresh pair of underwears.
Arriving in South Seattle, freshly caffienated and ready to fulfill my final day of math tutoring, I had to go to the bathroom. I was unable to gain frontal access to the penis; for some reason I could not find that standard convinient opening in the mans underwear which allows for swift excretory genital deployment.
Nevermind, I dealt with it.
Returning home several hours afterwards I found myself in need again; and again I found no respite from the unbreachable undergarments. I was determined to find the root of the problem,, finally dropping trou only to discover, my underwears were on backwards; the opening being now, not so conviniently in the back.
As of this writing the problem has yet to be corrected.

Nevertheless, undeterred, or perhaps unawares, I visited the locks thought as I watched the 50 and 60 foot sailboats and yachts rubbing up against eachother in the water that such water transfer points would be convinient choke points for catching the rich at a vulnerable spot come social revolution.

Remember: The more you have, the more you have to lose, the more afraid you become of losing it, the softer you become trying to protect yourself with money.

25 August 2008

Listen

If you're reading this, chances are you are probably not a resident of King County Washington, US, but if you live in the United States this meassage still reflects on you and your passive drunk ass stupid. Here are the most recent voting figures for King County Washington State re. Tuesdays primary:
Registered Voters: 1,041,892
Votes counted as of 8-23: 288,548
Voter Turnout: 27.69%
(source, WA Secretary of State

Seriously? 28%? I hope you fucking douche-bags get drafted and waste away eating Urban Outfitters scarves. Fuck. I feel sick.

21 August 2008

Future Wars

The Russian invasion of Georgia last week looks to me a bit similar to the Chechen business that went down years ago.
Now we’ve got Condi Rice signing missile defense agreements with Poland. According to an NPR report yesterday, the system that will eventually be constructed there is not yet fully developed. But in any case Rice is quoted in the New York Times as saying that “Missile defense, of course, is aimed at no one,”(Aug. 21 2008) Justification for putting it there has repeatedly been “to counter the threat of Iranian attacks” (NPR). If there is no immediate threat to the US, then what is Rice talking about defending?

According to the NPR report again, Iran does have missiles capable of reaching Europe, but not the US. This of course tells us that the US has more strategic interests in Europe and the middle East than have yet been realized. Iran at the same time has repeatedly denied its intent to develop nuclear weapons, insisting rather that it is enriching uranium for use in power plants.

With the squandering and rapid privatization of Russia’s infrastructure in the immediate post Communist era, it should come as no surprise that they are very concerned about their access to natural resources. If nothing else (lacking perhaps the economic incentives) Russia does have a large military to impose "trade" relations (Just ask the Germans who also recognized - to their eventual detriment -the incredible resource wealth of the Caucasus) and they're clearly willing to use it, in Georgia for the time being, where despite repeated promises to pull back they have done little more than regroup.

It seems pretty clear then, that because Russia is desperate to show some muscle in the face of Western diplomatic aliances with its former republics, and maintain control, or at least access to the resources there, and the United States is no less desperate to have access, that this so called missile defense sytem is in fact another "preemptive strike" in a possible future resource war in western Europe.

Again: Iran is already enriching Uranium, and already has missiles that reach Europe.
The missile defense system is not yet fully developed.
It may be a bit of a stretch to say that the United States is intentionally provoking Russia here, it hardly seems necessary. But it seems pretty obvious that the US is using Russias reaction to US economic diplomacy in the region to further polarize Poland and other proxy nations.

Russia in Georgia
Polish Missile Agreement
NPR Story on Polish Agreement
Caucasus Resource Map

19 August 2008

Social Contract

Social contract theory provides the rationale behind the historically important notion that legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The starting point for most of these theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any structured social order, termed the “state of nature” or “natural state”.

In this state of being, an individual’s words or action are bound only by his or her conscience. From this common starting point, the various proponents of social contract theory attempt to explain, in different ways, why it is in an individual’s rational self-interest to voluntarily subjugate the freedom of action one has under the natural state (their so called “natural rights”) in order to obtain the benefits provided by the formation of social structures.

To be a member of society is to accept responsibility for following its rules, along with the threat of punishment for violating them. It is justified with laws punishing behavior that breaks the Social Contract because we are concerned about others harming us and don't plan on harming others. In this way, society works by "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" (Hardin 1968).

According to the will theory of contract, which was dominant in the 19th century and still exerts a strong influence, a contract is not presumed valid unless all parties agree to it voluntarily, either tacitly or explicitly, without coercion. Lysander Spooner, a 19th century lawyer and staunch supporter of a right of contract between individuals, in his essay No Treason, argues that a supposed social contract (of the Rousseauean sort) cannot be used to justify governmental actions such as taxation, because government will initiate force against anyone who does not wish to enter into such a contract. As a result, he maintains that such an agreement is not voluntary and therefore cannot be considered a legitimate contract at all.

-excerpted from Wikipedia (link at top)

"Reason, abetted by experience, discloses the laws of nature and of society to man; then syas:
These laws are the laws of inevitability itself. No man had a hand in their making: no one foists them upon you. They have been discovered little by little, and my only purpose is to bear witness to them. If you abide by them, you will be just and good: if you breach them you will be unjust and mischevous. I have no other incentive to offer you; you are at liberty to accept or refuse(...)

(...) If you enter into the compact, you are part of the society of free men. All of your bretheren enter into a commitment with you, promising you loyalty, friendship, assistance, service and trade... Which is what the social contract adds up to."

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, from The Authority Principle, 1851

16 August 2008

Coatlalopeuh 2

After re-reading the last post about Guadalupe, I finally realized where I'd heard the name Coatlicue before. It was in the film Mardi Gras Massacre. (read my review) The killer sacrifices New Orleans hookers to the Aztec god Coatlicue by rubbing them down with oil, drawing their blood with a sacred ring, then cutting one of their hands and one foot and then cutting them open from stem to stern and removing their heart.
It's a pretty bad, low budget movie, and the only one we've shown at Kung Fu Grindhouse that got shut down for being too explicit.

15 August 2008

Coatlalopeuh

I've always been interested in the symbolism of indigenous Mesoamerica and of Catholicism, particularly crucifixes and the Virgin Mary Guadalupe, but I never looked into any of the history of the latter. I was looking for information on Qutzalcoatl on Wikipedia and found this info about Guadalupe's origin and symbolism:
Coatlalopeuh, the Mexican indigenous name for the Virgin of Guadalupe, is an indigenous goddess, descended from the earlier versions of Earth and fertility goddesses of the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

In the Mexican indigenous belief system, one of the earlier deities that Coatlalopeuh descended from was the goddess Coatlicue (meaning "Skirt of Snakes") who was considered the creator. When the patriarchal Aztec-Mexica culture dominated the region, it transformed the feminine goddesses into sinister monsters and replaced their roles with masculine gods. Coatlicue became a snake god. Separating itself from the darker goddesses, the goddess Tonantzin eventually emerged as the creator. It is believed that Tonantsi planted the cactus in Mexico and created pulque.

After the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Roman Catholic Church tried to discourage the indigenous people from using their goddesses, by relating them to prostitutes and keeping the other Catholic saints as virgins. In order to survive the Catholic cultural domination, the goddess Tonantzin had to be separated from its indigenous characteristics and thus Guadalupe was born. To be accepted by the Church, Guadalupe needed to be rid of the sexuality and serpent-related attributes of its ancestor, Coatlalopeuh.

Coatlalopeuh has historically represented Mexican cultural identity, as well as that of the chicano movement, ever since it was used as a symbol of the Mexican independence when Miguel Hidalgo argued for its use as the flag of Mexico. However, because Coatlalopeuh is known as "she who dominates the serpents", it as also been used as a symbol for feminism, functioning as an empowering female figure. Among other works, Gloria E. AnzaldĂșa is known for portraying this concept.


The image of Coatlalopeuh or the Virgin of Guadalupe now can be interpreted as a modern version of the goddess, showing women as a powerful controller of her own destiny as she is often seen crushing a snake in her hand.

Word Search

Reading some Pierre-Joseph Proudhon I came across some mystery words I had to look up. I think I might need a good pocket dictionary so I can look things up without having to wait until I get home.

antinomy - an apparent contradiction between valid conclusions; a paradox

calumny - N., a falsification or misrepresentation intended to disparage or discredit another.

coeval - Adj., of the same age; contemporary

extirpate - V., To pull up by the roots; uproot, to destroy completely; to annihilate. To surgically remove.

14 August 2008

No Sir

I don't fully believe that there is a time and a place for telling people the truth. For telling them that they are fucked as a species.
Let me couch that.
I don't think that one should to wait until the audience is ready for the message as some people would suggest. Rather, the message should, as I believe, be driven home, shoved in the face. OK, not forcefully, but the time will never be ready for the public acceptance. Contradiction never has a home in popular culture. That is the point of rebellion, dissent, and resistance.

There is no space for truth in popular culture.

Our lives, day-to-day, are eager concession.

How can you plan to reveal anything to that kind of complicity?
Assuming you have some great truth to reveal...Let's say instead, offer a different point of view. How can you plan for that?
I'll suggest that you cannot, and must leap at every opportunity you have, at the risk of your public image.

What value has public image? Tell me, I havent found one.

13 August 2008

Green is the New Bullshit

For some time now I think the term "Green", at least when used in the description of a product, has lost all significance. A coopted comodity, like punk bands on MTV, all the rebellion is gone.

That's no surprise, anything that has ever been seen to have a grassroots popularity is snatched up by corporate America and resold for private profit.
But "buying Green" to me has such a stink of hypocrisy that I find the whole concept malicious. I don't care how much medical waste you recycled to make that traveller coffee mug. It took more energy and resources to produce the original products (recycling requires priour consumption and waste), to break them down again, and remake them into the new product (which is often not 100% recycled, so it consumes even more energy and resources) that you've completely voided any advantage of buying "recycled".

I'm not against recycling, but it's a half-measure at best, and it does not clear your conscience and it does not let you or Bono off the hook.

What it is is a Consumable Image of Compassion. Vanity has no place in social justice. If you're concerned that people think you're progressive, or see you as such, you're insincere. It is however important to tell people what you're doing, because it generates interest and thought where it once hadn't been.

Buying green in the firstplace requires buying(consuming resources and energy), which is at it's root the antithesis of environmentalism. It's a hollow token gesture that clears a shallow conscience and requires no greater commitment or thought or concern than a Free Tibet bumper sticker or a "free range" egg.

11 August 2008

Options

I tend to agree with the statement that the people who most want to hold a position of power (lead a nation) are the worst choices to do so, at least from the point of view of the people over whom they would rule.
For the same reason I am for a 100 percent universal military service requirement. As it stands the people most likely to enter into the military voluntarily, and thus rise to the top are genrally the ones I least want in control of weapons of mass destruction.
This of course doesn't address the issue of those people who I would trust with that power who didn't want to be in service getting out as soon as their time is up, and leaving a bunch of idiots with their fingers on the fucking button. There are some snags in this idea, I'll admit, but you get what I'm saying right? A universal service requirement - with no exemptions other than medical disability - would theoretically keep the military and the politicos more honest, and more reluctant to engage in life-taking.

I'm getting off the subject. People who want to rule can't be trusted to rule justly. So I found myself wondering who the hell I really was going to vote for since I sure as hell aint gonna vote for McCain, and I think Obama's a crook too for the above reasons. I arrived at these choices for (semi-comical) presidential write-in:
Zombie Ronald Reagan
Eugene Debs
Joseph Stalin
Goodspaceguy Nelson

Before resigning myself to electing the undead or unsane, I remembered that corporate media don't report on the people who don't pay them to report on them.
For anyone who was dithering over the Democratic primary choice of woman or African American - as if that has anything to do with qualifications - look no further than Cynthia McKinney the Green Party candidate. Check out her Wikipedia Page for a concise history of her political career and leanings.
Or, how about the Libertarian candidate Congressman Robert Barr Jr., although he used to be a Republican according to Wikipedia
Ralph Nader is running again, as an idependant this time, and finally there is a Constitution Party candidate who just happens to be a pastor and a radio talk show host so we'll skip that one.
At least we have a few more living options.

10 August 2008

Bukowski's Self Test

"Yet, despite their smooth untouched bodies and minds they still were missing something because they were as yet basically untested. When adveristy finally arrived in their lives it might come too late or too hard. I was ready. Maybe."
(Ham On Rye pg. 168)

So, ugliness tempers one to endure future hardship. All adveristy does so. An ugly person, knowing from the time that they become aware of other peoples perception of themselves that they are unatractive, becomes accustomed to residing within ugliness. Thus, the distance between aspiration and reality narrows.

"Confined to the earth, those groveling forms looked not unto the heavens, for nothing there met their gaze, but scoffed in righteous pity."

Adversity tempers one to endure hardship.
Having merely enables not-having, and consumer culture engenders the desire to have and have more.
Vanity invokes fear of ugliness.
Fame invokes fear of anonimity.
Riches invoke fear of poverty.
Pleasure invokes fear of pain.

Having invokes fear of loss, and thus the physical safety of having invokes the terror of doing without.

What Bukowski is saying is that you don't have to fear people who have things.
They're already terrified of you.

07 August 2008

Goodspaceguy Nelson

Well, once again it's time to elect US Congressional District 7 candidates to the Federal House of Representatives, and once again our friend Goodspaceguy Nelson is looking for your vote.

Goodspaceguy's stance on the important issues:

"Goodspaceguy counts all the life of Spaceship Earth as his family."

"Goodspaceguy is pro-choice on almost everything."

"Goodspaceguy wants orbital space colonization."

"Goodspaceguy wants more people studying at our colleges during underutilized weekends and evenings."

A sampling of Goodspaceguys science-fiction writing:
"Dave said, “Sonja, this romantic dork is Goodspaceguy, our newly elected councilor. He is an economist and an investor. We are hoping for a lot from his recommendations and his votes for improving our colony, and I have called you here in celebration of his joining our team.”"


He looks a little bit like a former model rocket enthusiast with the cadence and vocabulary of a Doctor Bronners Magic Soap lable. But in all seriousness, I admire the guy for standing up and being as weird as he wants. He's got my vote.

For a more in depth look at Goodspaceguys policies check out his blogs:
Primarily a political thread
Our Spaceship Earth
Primarily a science and science fiction thread
Colonize Orbital Space

05 August 2008

Paul Naschy

Paul Naschy as Alaric de Marnac in the 1983 Spanish horror film Panic Beats. He is a bit of a creepy fellow, especially with that line of dialogue, and look, he's still smoking, in the bath.

02 August 2008

Headphones & Opinion

MP3 players and headphones are just another sign of the increasing amount of ignorance and personal isolation that’s been the trend in the Western and increasingly the rest of the world.

For anyone who’s ever paid attention, and I’m sure that’s not too many, it’s quite uncommon to make eye contact with persons you pass on the sidewalk in a large city. Even if they’re not wearing impenetrable sunglasses, in most cases they’ll look down or to the side, anywhere but at you. I’m certainly not against music, or against personal tastes therein, I simply find peoples inability to acknowledge each-others presence on the street disturbing and sad, and that headphones (and cellphones and PSP’s etc.) are an important cause of micro-social disunity.

The headphones phenomenon, which started in 1979 with the Sony Walkman is essentially a way of isolating oneself from the outside world, while at the same time cushioning oneself with the familiar and safe. An expensive way of holding the world at arms length while chanting “La la la I can’t hear you!” With the invention of the MP3 player a person isn’t even subject to the tyranny of the track list. In an interview with the New York Times in February, 2004 Michael Bull, a lecturer in media and culture at the University of Sussex in England said,
"The potential for continual play means you never have to tune in to the environment you're in," he said. "You're perpetually tuned out." He continued, saying that wearing an iPod all the time amounts to "blanking out" other people.
By denying oneself the opportunity to engage and interact with the environment and other people, the headphones wearer is effectively abstaining from the experience of real life inasmuch as reality is subjective. Thus by avoiding unpredictability as much as possible by surrounding themselves with what is comfortable, the wearer is as little as possible not subject to social experiences other than those they regulate.


The push towards individualism that began with the Enlightenment and the concept of Liberty continues mightily today in marketing and advertising. Every possible trend is coopted as quickly as possible and repackaged as personal freedom. Since we can theoretically give our every waking moment a reinforcement of our own preferences without the risk of unpredictable intrusion we have little need for others. This isolation over time will lead to difficulty interacting effectively with other people. It thus necessarily also creates distance apprehension and finally mistrust between individuals.
Because the users uncontrolled input from the outside world is reduced as much as possible, it necessarily makes their interpretation of reality extremely limited, firmly within the realm of opinion; the class of knowledge which requires no consensus or evidence for confirmation.

Seen through the filter of individual liberty, truth and reality (knowledge) then become imagined, liknesses perceived not as likenesses but as themselves.

Knowledge does not exist in a vacuum, and any knowledge is necessarily dependant upon other knowledges. According to Indian philosopher Nagarjuna, “Every concept is polar in that it acquires meaning in contrast with other concepts. Language thought, and knowledge would become crippled and vanish away were it not for the dependence of one concept on another.” (Puligandla)
So, though we may be filled with our own opinion, by denying ourselves the opportunity to confront other knowledges we effectively remain ignorant.

This is part of The Dumbening, we don’t have to absorb any information or experience other than what we chose to consume from the buffet of manufactured and marketed acceptables. Social experiences do not have to be experienced, interactions do not have to be acted unless we chose them to be, on our terms. There is no reason to look, find or learn, when the answers already effectively exist in our heads.

Other sources where I got some of my info, and where you can find out more:

Guy Debord - Society of the Spectacle

Plato - The Republic (Book V)

New York Times Feb. 15, 2004 - The World At Ears Length

Nagarjuna

My original post on "The Dumbening" The Dumbening

Undead Spy

For a book, a pulp adventure novella, the titles:
"I Was a Zombie for the CIA"
"I Was a Zombie Double Agent"
It's pretty straightforward; it's the late 50's, a zombie character is undercover in the Ukraine or somewhere else in the Western Soviet Union, Moscow would be OK if a bit obvious, selling military/defense secrets to the US/USSR etc. If it's a first person narrative you could elaborate on the body horror aspect when he's rotting, or shot and doesn't feel it but there's chunks coming off. Then of course you've got to deal with the whole eating flesh thing which would be kindof hard to cover up as a secret agent. Whatever the case, it has zombies communists and nuclear war, so it's a winner.